Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Frontline workers condemn pay deal

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said one billion euro pay cuts are fair as the public-sector wage bill accounts for 35 per cent of total public spending

Frontline workers have vowed to step up their campaign against the one billion euro state pay deal.

The 24/7 Frontline Services Alliance, which represents gardai, nurses, paramedics and firefighters, says the agreement is grossly unfair, inequitable, and seeks to take money from low and middle income public servants.

The organisation plans to start a nationwide campaign of opposition that includes forming a wider group with other unions and staging public meetings around the country.

"These steps will be taken in addition to actions being taken by individual members of the 24/7 Frontline Service Alliance to protest at the impact of the proposed cuts," it added after the executive council met at Croke Park.

Despite opposition to the deal intensifying, Taoiseach Enda Kenny earlier said cutting the public sector pay bill by one billion euro was absolutely fair and would be another big step to economic recovery.

"In the context of the additional three billion euro in spending cuts required by 2015, this contribution from payroll is absolutely fair," he said.

"Implementing these savings by agreement with public service staff would be another big step on the road to economic recovery, and would send out a signal to the world that the Irish people are determined to fix our economic problems and restore the country to prosperity and full employment."

Mr Kenny said the one billion euro pay cuts are fair as the public sector wage bill accounts for 35% of total public spending.

He made his call as the Civil and Public Service Union, the largest union in the government sector, the Teachers' Union of Ireland, the Irish Federation of University Teachers and Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisations (INMO) became the latest to voice opposition.

However the country's largest public service union, Impact, said its executive had "overwhelmingly" recommended that its members accept the deal. General secretary Shay Cody said the agreement was the best that could be achieved. Impact will start balloting its members during the last week of March.

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